Japan's single mothers, female nonregular workers hard hit by virus
Japan Today -- Jul 04
Single mothers and women with less secure jobs in Japan have seen their employment opportunities upended as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

For many of them, maintaining their income levels while attending to their children's needs as stay-at-home moms or women living alone is proving a formidable task.

Based on a labor market survey by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in April, the employed population of women dropped by 530,000 from the same month the previous year to 29.30 million -- the first such downward shift in over eight years.

Experts emphasize the need to establish a safety net for women, who generally make up a larger percentage of so-called nonregular workers, who mostly work part-time or full-time on fixed-term contracts and are the first to be laid off in a downturn in what is called the "employment adjustment valve" system.

In Japan, a regular employee is someone who is hired directly by an employer without a predetermined period of employment and who works for scheduled hours.

Overall, unemployment has risen for three straight months through May for the first time since it worsened for six months in a row from February to July in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, according to government data.

The data also showed the pace of labor market deterioration was accelerating under the government's state of emergency declaration over the virus, which was entirely lifted on May 25 with almost all requests withdrawn for restrictions on economic activities.

During the state of emergency, which was in place since April, the government asked businesses to suspend operations and people to refrain from making nonessential outings to prevent the further spread of the virus, taking a heavy toll on the economy.

News source: Japan Today
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